It’s a sitcom that could only have succeeded in the late ’70s and early ’80s: the story of a cruise ship filled with a cast of characters getting involved in romantic and comedic adventures. And with names such as “Doc,” “Gopher,” and “Ace,” the crew proved as corny and colorful as the passengers aboard the ship. But what ever happened to the Love Boat? Well, before we share that news, here's a bit of back story into the ship’s history.
The original Love Boat was built by shipbuilder Nordseewerke, in Emden, West Germany, for Flagship Cruises and christened Sea Venture. It measured 550 feet, four inches in length with an 80-foot, eight-inch beam. Four Fiat diesel engines with a combined 18,000 shaft horsepower turned two primary propellers through a series of clutches to push the 19,903 gross-ton vessel at speeds up to 21.5 knots, although the ship’s service speed was 20.5 knots. Sea Venture had a passenger capacity of 626 people.
In 1975, Sea Venture was sold to Princess Cruises and renamed Pacific Princess, the name it would carry during the entire Love Boat show run. Filming began in 1977, and the first episode of the show aired on September 24, 1977. While all of the ships that appeared on the show during its run were named Pacific Princess, there were actually six other “stand in” ships used, depending on where the cruises took place, including Island Princess, Stella Solaris, Pearl of Scandinavia, Royal Viking Sky, Royal Princess, and Sun Princess. The last episode of The Love Boat aired on February 27, 1987.
So what happened to the actual boat? Unfortunately, the rest of Pacific Princess’ history isn’t at all romantic or comedic.
Greek police impounded Pacific Princess in 1998 after it was discovered that crew were using the ship to smuggle heroin. Renamed Pacifc, the ship later began operating in the Caribbean in 2002 for Pullmantur Cruises. In 2008, the boat was seized again, this time in Italy for unpaid repair costs owed to a Genoa, Italy shipyard.
This ship was then put up for sale to try and satisfy the debt, but Pacific ended up being sold as scrap to a Turkish ship breaker in 2012 for 2.5 million Euros. As of late 2013, Pacific was in the process of being fully dismantled.
Not all love stories have a happy ending.